Lacy mumbled to herself as she yanked open the door to the Midnight Cafe. Nodding to the hostess, she snatched a menu and took her usual seat. The ribs sure smelled good . Laughter mixed with the hum of conversation.
"Well, someone looks grumpy today." Maple floated next to Lacy as she waited for some response. A vision of silver-gray, the older woman wore her hair up in a twist. Her dark nineteenth century dress, covered in a white apron.
Lacy tried to smile at her waitress. "Josh and I had a fight."
"Aw, don't worry, hon. Couples fight all the time." Maple placed a hand on Lacy's shoulder, causing a chill to run through her. Even though the waitress's touch chilled her, it was comforting. "What can I bring you?"
Lacy studied the menu, suddenly feeling hungry. "Just some apple pie and coffee."
"I'll be right back." Maple took the menu and faded from sight.
Lacy glanced around the 'lively' cafe, smiling at a few faces she recognized.
Most of the customers where living, like her, but scattered throughout the booths and tables sat ghosts, chatting away with fellow spirits. Some of them lived at the cafe, others were taking a break from their usual haunts.
Lacy thought back to the first time she'd come to this place. Ashley, her friend from work, had invited her to a 'special place' for lunch. Shy Lacy found it hard to make friends, so she jumped at the invitation.
Excited about her new-found friendship, Lacy hadn't notice where Ashley was taking her until they were almost there. The tiny log cabin, nestle on a quiet tree-lined street, sat so far off the road, most people would drive right past it.
Which, Lacy learned, was exactly the point.
"Her you go, dear." A plate floated down in front of her. The smell of the warm apple pie making her mouth water. "Charlie saw you looked sad, so insisted on an extra dollop of whipped cream."
Charlie was such a kind man. He owned the cafe way back when the main road ran through this part of town. Once the highway opened, the road was forgotten. Charlie died years ago, but he never closed up shop.
"Tell him thanks." Lacy chocked back tears. Sometimes, she felt closer to the beings here than her own family.
The cafe went deathly quiet.
Lacy paused, with a forkful of pie halfway to her mouth and glanced up at the patrons. All eyes stared toward the front door.
She turned in her booth and studied the four men dressed in dark clothes. Large yellow letters that read, NYPI scrolled across the back of their jackets.
Lacy dropped her fork. She didn't know what the letters meant, but she knew who the men were.